Prayer of Easter

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Memorial of Tichon, patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia, who died in 1925. With him we remember all the confessors and martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church during the Communist regime. Memorial of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 16,9-15

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him. After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either. Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The liturgy of the Church once more announces to us the appearance of Jesus to Mary of Magdala, according to the account of the evangelist Mark. Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus had freed from seven demons, also for the second evangelist, is the "first" person to announce the resurrection. She, who "had loved much," and consequently had much forgiven, receives the privilege of being the first disciple of the Risen One and the first person given the task of bringing to the disciples the Gospel of the resurrection. The apostles do not believe her; they are still slaves of the attitude of this world and above all of their forgetfulness. It is not sufficient to be weeping and grieving to love Jesus. In other words, our personal feelings, our thoughts and considerations are not sufficient, what counts is listening to someone else who speaks in the name of Jesus. Humility, that is the door that opens us to faith, requires listening that is being attentive to something that is not ours and comes from on High. Here it is the voice of a woman who has seen the risen Lord. Since immediately after his resurrection, Jesus uses the weakness of this woman to confound the disciples' presumption. With great spiritual wisdom, the Byzantine tradition calls Mary Magdalene the "apostle of the apostles." Though in a few lines, the evangelist reports Jesus' encounter with the two disciples of Emmaus and repeats that he had not yet appeared to the apostles, that is, to those whom he had placed as leaders of his Church. And once again the apostles do not want to believe the two disciples when they tell them what has happened. The evangelist wants to point out the difficulty people have had to believe in the resurrection from the very beginning of the Church, from the first day, and how difficult it was for the apostles on whom the Church would be founded. In any case, the difficulties and the unbelief that the apostles have believing the resurrection cannot stop the haste to proclaim to all Jesus' victory over death. Here is a woman and two anonymous disciples who go immediately to communicate what they saw and heard with no hesitation. This Gospel page suggests that every disciple is entrusted with the task of communicating Jesus' resurrection, his victory over evil and death. This is why the first people to announce the Gospel of Easter are not the apostles, but a woman and two anonymous disciples. Certainly, the conclusion of the narrative opens our eyes on the whole Church - the eleven that Jesus rebukes for their unbelief, and also the other disciples - which is sent to communicate the Gospel of Easter to the ends of the world so that every creature may be enveloped by its liberating power.